We wanted to dine at a prix fix French restaurant in the city and our daughter recommended L'Ecole. We made 5:30 dinner reservations and were seated in the "window room" of the restaurant, which was just glorious because we felt like we had the restaurant to ourselves AND passersby could view us as we enjoyed every morsel.
Service was excellent. Our server selected our wine pairings for each course and spent time explaining to us why she selected the wines she did and a little about each one. These servers are also enrolled in the French Culinary Institute's classes and where they learn their skills.
Favorite Dish: I had the:
Frisée Salad, Sautéed Mushrooms & Butternut Squash,
Grilled Cauliflower, Walnuts and Champagne Vinaigrette
Curry Glazed Salmon Roulade
Braised Cucumber, Yukon Gold Potatoes and Mussel Cream Sauce
Shot of hot cider
Selection of Fine Cheeses with House Made Pairings
It was all so good, although I didn't particuarly like the champagne our server selected to go with my salad. Not that it was bad, but I'm not a fan of the bubbly. Other than that....EXCELLENT!
The restaurant of The French Culinary Institute L´Ecole is located near the high-end shopping paradise of SoHo in southern Manhattan. The restaurant has way classier aura compared to the other joints in the vicinity -- white table clothes make a huge difference.
The service is excellent, way better than in France usually, and the food is okay. Honestly, I've expected a bit better fare due to the surroundings in the dining hall, but the food was a bit bland for my taste. It was also more American than I thought -- more of American view of French food than authentic French food, which I was kind of expecting, as I was in The French Culinary Institute.
We visited the restaurant during lunch hours and got a good deal from the lunch menu. It is more expensive during dinner time, but then the whole menu is available.
For a really interesting dining experience, try L’Ecole, the restaurant of the French Culinary Institute. Dishes are made by the school’s students (although when I asked the hostess about it she said that they had to be at a certain proficiency level before being allowed to cook for the restaurant) and the prices, at least for New York are fairly reasonable. A five course meal runs about $42. Unfortunately, the day I went, they were too busy to seat my friend and I in time for us to be where we had to be later, but I’ve heard that the food is excellent and it’s certainly a lovely-looking restaurant.
This is a school that is a restaurant. Students from the French Culinary Institute operate this restaurant to give them exposure to 'the real world'. Basically you are paying considerably less than you would for the same meal in in a 'real' restaurant so you can be their 'guinea pigs'. You can order prix fixe or a la carte for lunch or dinner. And in spite of the name of the school, they do prepare food from a varitey of cuisines as well.
You won't be disappointed!
This restaurant, stafffed by students at the FCI is surprisingly unkown by locals....and very good. The restaurant is nicely lit and decorated, very quiet even though full, and best of all, the food is all very good to excellent and at a fixed price for three or four courses (about $30 for my Fall 03 visit).